Thursday, 24 November 2011
Underrated Movie (3) "Night Passage"
Why do I like this film so much? I suppose the answer is "atmosphere". It was made in 1957 and was planned as another Anthony Mann - James Stewart western. Apparently Mann did not like the script and was unhappy with some of the characters. He was also unhappy with the casting of Audie Murphy in a central role. It is true that there are some similarities with other Mann films - Dan Dureyea for one, playing much the same role he played in "Winchester 73", and Stewart's character is not as hard as Mann would have wished, but I do not agree with most of the reviews I have read which take Mann's side. Some say the film is unbalanced and that the dialogue is poor; I disagree. Of course, the different parts of the film all contribute to the overall effect. The scenery is breathtaking and the photography superb. The action sequences are very well directed (by James Neilson, Mann's replacement). I suppose I also like it because it is a story about redemption on more than one level. There is a "religious" heart to the movie, and I suspect this is what some people really dislike. However, you have to make up your own mind. It is cheap on Amazon and can even be seen free on the internet. In my opinion it is one of the most underrated movies of all time.